ZAMBIA NATIONAL FARMERS’ UNION
I wish to urge all my fellow farmers to support the national agenda by producing more food for the nation. In this regard, I urge all farmers to ensure that they plant early and that they use certified seed. This is the time that unscrupulous traders take advantage of unsuspecting farmers who are cheated into buying fake seed and fertilizer. Where farmers are not certain, they should contact the nearest agricultural officers. Government should assist the farmers in quality control by ensuring that genuine seed and fertilizer is what is marketed to avoid problems that we have had in the past.
One of the major problems that the Country has at the moment is productivity i.e. the yield per hectare which on average is very low. If productivity, especially for small scale farmers, was increased, Zambia can easily become the bread basket even on the same hectarage that we currently grow. Our small scale farmers should therefore adopt good agronomic practices such as conservation farming which has proved to produce 5 tonnes of maize per hectare compared to conventional farming where small scale farmers are getting less than 2 tonnes per hectare. Our Meteorological Department has assured us of a very good rainy season which we must take advantage of and produce a surplus.
Farmers will deliver, as long as they are provided with the right environment. We will therefore meet the new Minister of Agriculture & Cooperatives, Honourable Brian Chituwo, as soon as possible to discuss issues affecting farmers such as the Fertilizer Support Programme, agricultural marketing, the general rise in cost of production, Livestock diseases, Council Levies etc. The Union will continue with the policy of dialogue and will work as a strategic partner to the Government. We will therefore support the new Minister of Agriculture & Cooperatives. We have all the confidence that Hon. Chituwo will be consultative as the agricultural industry is so diverse and dynamic such that consultation with stakeholders and acting on stakeholders’ consensus in a timely manner is so critical to ensure sustainable growth of the sector to the satisfaction of all.